Biography: Milt Stein

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Birth/Death

Birth: March 15, 1921
Death: July 1977

Occupation/Title

Bio Summary

Milt Stein lived in New York for much of his life. It is unknown exactly when he started up a family, but he did so, in between working as both an animator at various studios (Fleischer Studios was one of his earliest), and working on numerous comics. After 1976, Milt was in bad health, unable to take care of himself, and tasked with taking care of both his family and his older, brain defective brother. Milt committed suicide in 1977, possibly because he could no longer take the pressure anymore.

Early Life/Family

Not much in the way of information about this. It is known that he had a family of his own, and had to take care of his older brother in his later years.

Education/Training

Not much information here as well. A lot of his later training comes from the vast amount of work he had done in various animations and on numerous comic books.

Career Outline

Milt worked at Terrytoons on and off, largely between 1941-1943. He spent a good deal of time drawing up comics for Fago’s Shop in the early 1940’s for Timely. Delving further into animation, he “worked as an assistant animator at Fleischer’s in 1943. He continued doing comics for several different comic book companies during this period, up until around the mid 1950’s. Milt was tasked with drawing features for Better Publications, such as ‘Bonny Bunny,’ ‘Coo Coo,’ ‘Goofy Comics,’ ‘Phineas the Parrot,’ Supermouse,’ ‘Tommy Turtle’ and many others. He was also a regular for Quality Comics, drawing up comics such as ‘Flatfoot Burns,’ ‘Poison Ivy,’ and ‘Inkie.’ Milt worked with several other companies, including Victory Comics on ‘Jing Pals,’ Trojan Comics on ‘Jingle Dingle,’ Marvel with ‘Silly Seal,’ ‘Ziggy Piggy,’ and ‘Wally Wolf,’ Fawcett on ‘Snortville Sneeze,’ ACG on ‘Buddy Bear,’ ‘Pat the Potato Bug,’ and Ace Periodicals on “Marmaduke Monk.’ As the 1960’s rolled around, Milt went back to animation, and worked on ‘Batfink’ for Hal Seeger, as well as ‘Return to Oz’ for Rankin-Bass.” In the late ‘60’s he worked on ‘Bowl Brummel,’ and in the mid 1970’s, ‘Tubby the Tuba,’ which was ill-fated.

Comments On Style

Milt Stein, much like many other artists, starts off with crude work. However, it was clear he was working hard on what he did. Years later, he developed the “rubber hose” style to great extents. His experience and hard work paid off, because his style came together around the period he was working on the ‘Coo Coo’ comics. He developed a more illustrational style in the late 1940’s, likely due to the large amounts of comics he had been drawing. This provided for “nicely composed landscapes, accurate use of perspective, and energetic posing.” His work in this period is considered streamlined and simplified, and managed to avoid the angularity of a lot of the “modern” styles of the time. Milt is compared to being as good as Harvey Eisenberg in this stage of his career. At Terrytoons, Milt expressively animated the girl mouse puppet in ‘Down with Cats,’ in the early 1940’s. A common sentiment is that Milt was a neglected artist, even though he was skilled.

Influences

Little is known about Milt’s influences in his younger years, but as he began to bud and grow in ability, he might have been influenced by Harvey Eisenberg, as their abilities are comparable at that period in time.

Personality

Not much information exists on this as well, but he was known to be a soft-spoken, gentle man.

Anecdotes

Supermouse’ predates ‘Mighty Mouse,’ with Milt working on both. ‘Supermouse’ was changed to ‘Mighty Mouse’ after only the first cartoon. Given that Milt was working for both companies, it is possible that he was involved in some corporate espionage. The truth may never be known, due to Milt committing suicide.

Miscellaneous

Filmography

‘Return to Oz,’ for TV, 1964; ‘Bowl Brummel,’ for TV, 1967; ‘Tubby the Tuba,’ 1975.

Honors

Related Links

lambiek.net/artists/s/stein_milt.html
portulentpalaver.blogspot.com/2007/01/milton-stein.html
http://www.comicartville.com/vincefagopg2.htm
http://www.animationarchive.org/2006/04/media-milt-steins-supermouse-comics-no.html
http://mayersononanimation.blogspot.com/2006/06/30-years-ago-today_07.html

Bibliographic References

BIO-AAA-354

Contributors To This Listing

Chris Silbe
Logan Swift
Tom Sito
Michael Sporn

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